Week One: War and Peace Read-a-Long

The link to read the first week at the host site: http://www.bookinginheels.com/2015/02/the-war-peace-read-long-week-one.html

I signed up to read War and Peace, February 5th. I was able to manage reading book one (117 pages) in a couple of days. My copy of War and Peace is The Modern Library Classics edition, translated by Constance Garnett, and with an introduction by A.N. Wilson.
The questions for this week:

  1. What pre-existing ideas did you have about War and Peace? I did not have any bad pre-existing ideas about the story. It is long. The war is between France and Russia, the Napoleonic Wars. There is a love story. It is an epic story. A study of Russian aristocracy, it's culture and society. 
  2. On that note, is it as bad as you'd expected? No. I am enjoying the story. 
  3. What strategies are you employing? I have a post-it-note at the end of each book. It is normal for me to place a post-it-note at every 100 pages when I'm reading a lengthy book. My goal at one sitting is to read 100 pages. Instead, in reading War and Peace, I'm reading each book in length and then stopping. I've noticed all the books lengths are a little over 100 pages. There are thirteen books plus an epilogue. 
  4. How are you getting on with your translation? The story is wonderful and I've not noticed a problem. 
  5. Most and least favourite characters? I dislike both Prince Andrey Bolkonsky and his wife Princess Lise (Liza) Bolkonsky. He is disrespectful, and she is whiny and clingy. There is much more to their story than book one has revealed. Their marriage is in threads, frayed threads. There is an argument between them that made me uncomfortable, and I'm just a spectator. 
  6. How do you feel about the way women are treated in the book? I dislike the attitude of this society in general. These are some of my observations. A woman's duty was to marry and have children (heirs). In the aristocracy, marriages were for the most part arranged, there was little choice for the couple. Beginning a marriage when they do not love each other and maybe do not even like each other is hard for me to comprehend. Women did not have a voice, they were to obey their fathers and husbands. Women were to be respectful, beautiful, and not too smart (or at least do not show intelligence.)  
The first book is entertaining and enlightening. It brings the characters to the stage for me to get to know them a little. To observe their character in good circumstances and not so good circumstances. 
The time period is brutal. A war with Napoleon and his army is beginning. As is common in the early stages of war, patriotism and gusto swarm among the people. 
I have loved the conversations and dialogues of the characters. I feel Tolstoy has given me panoramic view. It's as if I'm in the room with the characters and can view each of them and listen in on their chats and spats.  

Comments

  1. I like that description you use of Tolstoy giving us a panoramic view :) Very true!

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  2. I'm glad that you're enjoying the read-a-long - I'm finding the book much easier than I'd expected as well.

    I agree that Prince Andrey isn't very pleasant, although I do like his wife. Perhaps I just feel sorry for her :)

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